News 2010 Games Traffic Plan a Permanent Roadmap?

The Tyee

Officials hope citizens will embrace public transit beefed up for Olympics.

By Geoff Dembicki

When the 2010 Olympics hit town, parking restrictions, road closures and 24-7 priority lanes might make driving hard for Metro Vancouver commuters.

That could cause widespread anger and frustration, but VANOC and the city hope permanent improvements to public transit will get people out of their cars and into buses and trains — during and beyond the Games.

When life returns to normal, will Vancouver be left with legions of commuters using sustainable transport options?

Or will people simply revert back to their cars, as one planning expert has argued? VANOC today unveiled its comprehensive transportation plan, a wide-ranging strategy that’s meant to ensure athletes, spectators and media get from accommodations to venues — and back — in a timely manner.

Clearly, the logistics are daunting. During the Games, Vancouver will host up to 135,000 spectators each day — the equivalent of staging 17 back-to-back Superbowls, VANOC’s executive vice president Terry Wright told reporters.

And that’s on top of an expected 6,100 athletes and officials, 10,000 accredited media and a 55,000 strong workforce.

To deal with the influx, transportation planners from VANOC, the city, the province and TransLink have taken aim at single occupancy vehicles. Their goal is reduce automobile traffic by at least 30 per cent during the Games.

In the downtown core, that means significant parking bans along major roads, 24-7 rush-hour restrictions and the closure of major arteries such as the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts.

Across the city, vehicles will be prohibited from driving in dedicated Olympic lanes, which will be open to only accredited Games traffic and Translink buses.

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